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Natural Gas Prices

People often call us to ask about natural gas prices.  The question we hear most often is, “Why did gas prices change this month?”  There are a lot of factors that impact natural gas prices – Some are fairly clear, while others are a little less obvious.  Here are a few factors that have recently affected natural gas prices:

  • Local Weather:  The low temperature in Cleveland, OH was -1 degree Farenheit on January 6, 2014.  As you can imagine, people used an incredible amount of natural gas to heat their homes during this time.  Because of this, the natural gas supply went down.
  • National Weather: This year’s Polar Vortex created cold conditions in unusual parts of the country.  Snow and ice ranging from Austin, TX to Bangor, ME meant that millions of people who don’t normally use natural gas needed to turn up the heat.  The sustained cold across the country decreased the natural gas supply.
  • International Conflicts: How does something on the other side of the world affect natural gas prices?  Let’s look at the crisis in Ukraine as an example.  If Russia begins limiting its exports of natural gas to the E.U. in retaliation against economic sanctions, then the price of natural gas on the world market will rise.  This includes prices in the U.S.
  • Electricity Generation:  Did you know that many power plants use natural gas to produce electricity?  As power needs rise, so does the demand for natural gas.

It’s been a rough winter for natural gas, but there are still many advantages.  Here are just a few:

  • Cleanliness:  Natural gas is considered more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels because of its relatively low emissions.
  • Efficiency:  A natural gas furnace delivers air at about 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is much warmer than most electric heat pumps, so you’re able to heat your home more efficiently.
  • Control:  Have you noticed that all chefs on TV have a gas range?  This is because natural gas gives you more control over cooking temperatures.
  • Reliability: Unlike oil, natural gas is piped directly to your home.  Natural gas customers never have to worry about delivery schedules.